Neuromarketing and Emotional AI: Secret Weapons to Help Drive Competitive Advantage for Brands

I’m going to introduce Billee Howard who you will find shares some very valuable information about the latest in neuromarketing, emotional AI and how it all impacts storytelling and new approaches to customer engagement in our new Emotion Economy. Whilst this was recorded in 2019 it still contains massive value!

Billee Howard is founder and CEO of BRANDthro, which is a neuromarketing consultancy that harnesses creativity and technology to power a brand’s purpose and experience in ways that demonstrate a deeper understanding of brand targets and the language and content most apt to drive their engagement.

Billee and I discussed storytelling and it’s power as a business currency as she has more experience than most people in it that I know….so it’s well worth listening to this episode. Billee has a strategic vision for how brands can differentiate themselves from their competition through the lens of purpose and sharpened emotional intelligence. She was founder of the global corporate storytelling practice, the GSMG, at Weber Shandwick for many years, following a career as press secretary for the President of the Philippines and his cabinet. I know Billee from from when I went to IBM’s THINK event.

We met in Las Vegas and had a really good time there and really good conversation around emotional AI. Billee is also author of the book We-Commerce and the well read Forbes Ask the CMO column. So let’s, let’s dig into this really exciting episode. If you want to keep up with what’s going on in the marketing world, this is something you can’t afford to ignore. 

Billee Howard 2:37
Good to see you. How are you?

Nathaniel Schooler 2:40
Very well. Thank you very well. Just quite excited. I shouldn’t really say that. I say too many times in my podcast, but I am kind of excited I enjoy what I do you see, and I just I enjoy hearing about what everyone else is up to, you know, and I know you’ve got you’ve got some sort of big announcements to make about what’s going on with your your firm right now and stuff.

But before we get into that I wanted to just talk for like, I wanted you to talk really for 10-15 minutes about storytelling, because I know that is your that is your speciality. Right! And yeah, I’d love to sort of hear from your perspective, you know how that’s changed? I think, first of all, first of all, what is storytelling? And how does it help people to sell stuff? I think that’s the key.

Billee Howard 3:29
Well, the heart of everything I do is really based off of the same thing that drives an effective story, which is in order to get people to act, you have to first make them feel and the way that you do that is through stories that are compelling, are about characters are about things that drive emotion and when brands look at storytelling, one of the key mistakes that they make is they talked too much about the what and the what it is they’re trying to sell, as opposed to the who and why. Which is what actually engages someone in a narrative and engages somebody to become part of a brand and then ultimately become a customer.

So, you know, understanding the ins and outs of storytelling today is critical to anyone. Because as I see it, stories are not just stories, there are a vital currency of business.

Nathaniel Schooler 4:27
Okay. Okay. So that, in essence, comes from the mission of the business, right? And what sits sort of behind it. I mean, I was talking yesterday with someone about about that and kind of like the ethics and the morals and the sort of principles of, of the actual business itself. And then that becomes part of the story, doesn’t it?

Billee Howard 4:51
Well, it depends. I mean, what’s driving a lot of storytelling today is again, this shift from brands talking about the what to talking about the who and the why which is all about a grander sense of purpose, and a way of contributing to the world more than just the bottom line, this is becoming a critically important tool, whether you’re trying to engage customers, or you’re trying to attract and retain employees.

So this whole idea of moving from rational engagement to which is again about what you’re selling, or why you should what, you know, the place that you’re going to work and what it is they do, the more compelling place to focus is on the emotional side of the house, which is again, the who and the why which is the grander sense of purpose.

Nathaniel Schooler 5:35
Right. So where would you Where would you sort of start if you if you are going into a let’s say, you were going into a brand like a big brand or or a funded business? Yeah, not a Not a bootstrapped startup.What would you actually do when you when you arrive there to sort of help help them tell their story better?

Billee Howard 6:00
Well, you have to, again, understand what it is that they’re trying to do and the context in which they’re trying to do it. And most importantly, as well, you have to understand the people that comprise the brand. I often talk to CMOS and other people about even thinking about themselves as executive producers of their brands.

Because in essence, brands are content purveyors as much as they are purveyors of product. So if you’re thinking about yourself, as an executive producer, you have to think about how do I create a compelling narrative that talks again, as much about what I do as why I do it, and the people who are driving it forward. And that’s a really great place to begin an array of storytelling or constructed branding that I focus on is in someone’s overall corporate reputation. We look at all the assets that a company has, whether it’s their products and services, their innovation, they’re human capital, their management, their financial strains, you look at all of those assets and then you find different compelling ways of telling those stories pretty.

A face on the brand humanizing the brand with the people behind it.

Nathaniel Schooler 7:05
Right? So it’s a, it’s a people lead story, right? Like the people are in the story. This is not like, you’re not you’re not just sort of making up a persona for the business. Are you you’re you’re tying in the right people into the business? Is that Is that a fair way to describe it? From my perspective?

Billee Howard 7:27
Yeah, I mean, any brand today that’s going to succeed is going to have to be 150,000% authentic. And in order to be authentic, you have to live and breathe what you’re talking about. And in today’s market, there’s often very, very little separation between a person’s personal life and their professional life when they’re an entrepreneur. And if you’re good at storytelling, and you’re good at branding and marketing, you try to capture what that essence is, and almost bottle it so that it becomes the secret sauce of the brand that drives engagement and ultimately conversion.

Nathaniel Schooler 8:00

Right. So that would that is lead from from the top of the business, isn’t it?

And then and then, you know, let’s, let’s just let’s just say that you were you were a startup business that was funded, right? Yeah. You You, you would first of all you would you would decide on, you know what sort of story your business had.

First of all, you know, you’ve got a product and it’s selling and it’s working. And you would try and get buy in from everybody that is in your sphere on your radar to tell them and then you’d ask them questions, wouldn’t you? And then they would become part of the story is that is that a fair fair way of of moving forward with that?

Billee Howard 8:44
Well, the greatest friends in the world understand today that brands need to be built at home for them to be authentic and for them to be truly brought to life. Any top CMO that I have interviewed and in my column on Forbes always looks at the fact that.

The most compelling brands, the most authentic brands, the most engaging brands begin with stories that are true to the company itself. And ultimately, everyone in today’s market is a customer. And if you start with that point of view at home, and almost think of your employees as your first set of customers, and you can figure out how to emotionally engage them and transform them into brand ambassadors, then you’re setting the brand on a course to move forward externally in that same fashion. And you’re able to do what winning brands do today, which is not just sell, but engage people in an experience that takes them and makes them a part of a brand. So they not only engage They not only buy but then they become loyalists, and they recommend an advocate and that’s how successful brands are built today from the top down and the bottom.

Nathaniel Schooler 9:50
Right yeah, that’s exactly what I was I was just editing another episode about that very very thing learning a lot more about communications now it’s it’s, it’s

Such an interesting topic. It really, really is. So in your in your career with because I know you’ve been in storytelling for a long, long time, what’s the most exciting kind of stories that you’ve that you’ve been involved with? Do you think?

Billee Howard 10:16
Well, early in my career, I was involved in telling the stories of emerging market countries. You know, that was very exciting time, I had a focus on Southeast Asia long before Singapore was ranked one of the most innovative nations in the world. I represented actually the President of the Philippines and his entire cabinet in the United States. And my job was to explain to the US business investment climate, why that region of the world would be what it is today. I then turn that focus of telling stories about countries and creating brands around those type of scenarios, into focusing on CEOs and corporate positioning by telling corporate narrative stories for the world’s leading brands.

And their executives around the world. So you know, I, I’ve done everything from represent countries to people. And what I’m most excited about doing today is helping brands really find the right mix of creativity and technology so that they can take their stories to the next level in a way that really has an eye on what’s most compelling today, which I believe is brand purpose.

Nathaniel Schooler 11:26
That makes a lot of sense. I’m nodding away here.

That’s fantastic. So So in terms of kind of marrying the technology with the people in the business and the purpose Yeah,

I know we you know, last time we spoke we talked about this technology that you’ve that you’ve been involved with, and and I’m super excited about AI but but not not in a sort of….

How would you put this not in a sort of five or 10 years time I’m excited about you know, very specific things like you are the AI can actually do instead of, instead of this big dream of in five years time that everyone’s going to be sort of over-run with AI. And it’s going to control the world. I’m more interested in these tiny little things that it can do, which will help businesses and people to have easier working lives. And I know that that’s, that’s something that you’re sort of working working on. And I’m quite quite interested to sort of hear a bit more about that actually.

Billee Howard 12:29
Well, we’re excited that as of 2019, we’ve spun brand throw out as Brandthro from our relationship with sentiment many of its assets were sold and while we still have a great relationship with its founder who inspired a lot of what we’re doing today, you know, we’ve taken the last 18 months of immersing ourselves in the world of AI and neuroscience and all these things that sounds super exciting to really understand how to have a niche focus to actually make a compelling difference. I think that you raise a great point.

A lot of these big ideas are just that they’re big, and they’re ominous and they’re exciting at the same time. But unless you can drill down and really understand how to apply them and put them to use, they’re not necessarily going to make a meaningful and measurable difference to what it is you’re doing out of business. And that’s really where our focus is right now.

We’re trying to really use technology to make a brand’s emotional intelligence stronger. And what I mean by that is, if you’re going to communicate with someone today, you have to be hyper focus rather and extremely focused on context and really understanding the person that you’re trying to communicate with. So if you can use science and maths and technology to have a deeper understanding of the customer and then you use those insights to perfect the type of content at a word level which is actually what we’re working towards.

You know, you can really help marketers and communicators make a measurable difference in what they’re communicating to their audiences. Because that’s really what’s going to drive success today. It’s two things.

One is having the ability to go from rational to have emotional connections with people, and having the ability to not just push content out, but push out meaningful stories that engage someone in an experience. And we feel that being emotionally intelligent, with a focus on brand purpose is the right at least beginning path to do just that. And that’s what we’re starting to work with clients to do.

Nathaniel Schooler 14:31
Right. So what I’m very interested in is the study that you guys have actually been been using with the AI you actually put sensors on people’s people’s heads, didn’t you to see what UC Berkeley to actually see what the effect of the word had on that person’s brain and actually that is for me, that’s super exciting. Can you can you explain a bit more about that. Very interested in that.

Billee Howard 15:01
Well, that that was the, you know, that’s what our founder from sentiment was inspired by, we have not use what what’s done at UC Berkeley, we are actually focusing first on perfecting emotion AI, or what’s called affective computing, to be able to understand the right math and science that’s going to be able to do exactly that connect words on an emotional level.

So directly connecting language to words. And we brought in a new head of data science to really focus on the maths and science that will enable us to do that once we have which we’ve built and are very close to finalising those proprietary algorithms.

We’re going to put them in the market and really do what we’re we’re aspiring to do now in this new niche focus, which is help drive the right type of research so that people can create communication strategies that resonate and connect and then use those insights to help people create you know better and smarter creative. So everything that we’re doing is about sharpening a brand’s emotional intelligence.

You know, once we we finalise that phase then we’re going to see where where we go next. But that’s really where we’re at and where we’re super excited to, you know, be seeing some some very solid progress in the first quarter.

Nathaniel Schooler 16:24
it’s it’s it’s certainly a great spot to be in, I think, I mean, I don’t know very I don’t know any other companies that are doing that exact thing. I mean, they’re obviously probably competitors out there. I mean, I don’t think we know what’s going on in China when you’ve got that closed off wall over there in terms of the internet, you know, and they were they talk about AI and what they’re doing out there I mean, I was talking to someone the other day about it and you know, I mean, we he seemed to think that in China, there’s all sorts of stuff going on but we just don’t know do we, at the end of the day is what they’re doing over there.

Billee Howard 17:00
Listen, there’s a new cover story or rather special issue of Harvard Business Review that just came out that is called the brain science behind business. And, you know, that’s what what is so exciting about the time that we’re in neuroscience and emotion. AI has been top of mind for the last 10 years. And there have been good things and bad things that have come out of that there are certain people who’ve been in the space that you know, have brought a lot of scepticism, scepticism to it. And there are other people in the space who brought a lot of credence and credibility to it.

And I think that we’re at a really interesting pivot point because affective computing as a standalone industry is expected to hit somewhere around $60 billion within the next two years. So, you know, I think that we’re seeing a lot of advancements in the field that can actually make a really strong measurable difference in the realm of marketing, let alone all the other industries that can certainly benefit from these type of things and and science.

Nathaniel Schooler 18:01
When you say affective computing, can you elaborate on what that includes please.

Billee Howard 18:06
Effective computing is is emotion AI. So any type of artificial intelligence married with a variety, whether it’s neuroscience or a variety of other things that help people to understand whoever it is that they’re trying to reach on a deep emotional basis.

And when you look at the world of hyper personalization that we’re in, you know, in order to be able to have those type of conversations at the most basic level, you have to understand who you’re speaking with, so that you can get them to feel so that they act and I believe that it’s not just machine it has to be man and machine brought together to do that.

And that’s why we took a fundamental step back to say, let’s not rely totally on a machine. Let’s benefit from what we can do with man and machine together and then let’s see how we apply that to clients what we learn and where we go from there.

And we’ve had great success with that, you know, and it’s only it’s only the end of January. So we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with that super laser focus. And you know and where we go next.

Nathaniel Schooler 19:15
Yeah, go with all your years. Experience at Weber Shandwick, I always get that wrong.

Billee Howard 19:24
You are always hungry when you’re interviewing me.

Nathaniel Schooler 19:25
Whenever I talk about Weber Shandwick, I do think about Yeah, but the thing is it’s like you say like you can you can go into ai ai and whatever yeah but without without having that people you know that experience within the specific sector is absolutely a waste of time to go into doing anything within a I was talking to an expert in I don’t know podcast number 18 or something the other day the other week and you know, he does a lot of stuff in a I think he’s based in New York actually, well, he’s from New York.

But it’s it’s almost a case of everyone’s talking about it. But they don’t realize that the investment they need to put into creating anything with AI is actually going to increase their costs. Yeah, it for two years, is what he said. He said that a business that wants to integrate AI into into what they’re doing to then reduce the amount of people that they need, is going to need to invest more money for two years to actually increase their team. So then they could reduce people is what he said, which is quite interesting.

Billee Howard 20:34
What but that has to do it that you see, and that therein lies the problem using AI in that level of a ubiquitous fashion. He’s talking about streamlining jobs. I’m talking about streamlining communications, which are two very different things.

I think that that’s a great point that you raised because it allows me to talk about why I’m so excited about what we’re doing. It’s a very surgical approach to saying how do I take the best of science and maths and marry it with the years of consulting and communication experience that me and my team have, to be able to apply those insights to the variety of marketing challenges that brands are facing today.

So what I’m really excited about is not just saying, you know, we have an offering that helps you know, your customer better, what we’re trying to do is say, we can help you as a brand or a corporation know any of your key stakeholders better.

So, whether you’re trying to communicate diversity and inclusion more clearly to your workforce, or potential employees, let’s create a diversity inclusion approach to this emotional intelligence, how can we teach you to speak more clearly and more emotionally resonant way about the topic of diversity inclusion, how do we apply the idea of emotional intelligence to overall corporate reputation and and looking at my years of experience in deconstructing companies and all of their assets, as we talked about earlier, innovation people product CSR and understand the right way of communicating those messages to all of the different stakeholders that a brand is speaking to, or at the most micro and, and surgical level, you know.

We just worked with a brand who hadn’t launched yet. And they have a super targeted customer segmentation tool, because they’re launching this brand for a very specific person that spans three generations. And we help them to understand the language and emotional nuances that they needed to be aware of, of how to speak to these people before they launch and make whatever modifications that they needed to, again, make them feel so that they acted in a certain way.

So if you look at how we’re looking about things at things today, it’s almost a portfolio of how you can apply emotional intelligence to any organisation so that they can connect in a more effective way with whichever constituency it is that they’re trying to reach.

Nathaniel Schooler 22:58
Yeah, it makes it makes, you know, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, it’s, in essence, just, it’s so great that actually GDPR has come on, you know, and, and all this all this awareness around data and people people you know, getting fed up with this kind of, you know, awful marketing, awful advertising practices that have driven them crazy.

It’s actually done marketers a favour and it’s done you guys a favor with this because it means that it means that people are going to actually hire you to help them because they want to be closer to the exact target market and I think I think it’s huge interesting because it’s like you’re not even trying to sell anything anymore you’re you’re you’re just saying to people this is what we have this is who we are this is why we do what we do and do you want a hand with anything?

And they just say oh yes please I want to buy that and it’s just it is taken away the whole pressured the approach of like this push because it’s been a very push orientated business certainly for for the past few years before that I just scattergun approach to marketing wasn’t it’s just like, you know, you put a billboard up and you get millions of people going past that billboard at certain times of day, and some of them are going to buy it. But I think it’s just so interesting that it’s bringing the the ROI into people’s people’s minds as well. So the finance director is going to be happy as well, you know!

Billee Howard 24:34
Yeah, I mean, it’s the through line of my career, which is using a surgical focus to tell stories. So whether I was telling stories around the world, you know, when clients used to come to me, I would say to them, you know, you’re going to hire my team or specialty team and we’re going to get you four or five placements in the press an entire year. Now, they would be very significant stories, but they would be targeted for a specific audience with a specific message. And they wouldn’t just be a quote, they’d be several pages and ones would be for employees, let’s say, and one would be for shareholders, and one would be for customers, and so on, and so forth.

That’s the through line that we’re trying to take through in the business today, which is how do you surgically use emotional intelligence at the word and language level to get whomever it is you’re trying to rage to feel in a specific way.

So they act in the way that you want them to, whether that’s purchasing your product, investing in your company, viewing you as a positive global corporate citizen, wanting to work for your brand, so on and so forth. And we believe that what’s exciting about what we’re doing is not only that you can easily see and understand what the benefits of using this approach is, but it’s a very easy to understand and apply type of model. And that’s why I think, you know, people are responding very well to it.

And we’re able to verticalise the idea into different areas, as I’ve mentioned, that would be of interest to a company, whether it’s general customer corporate positioning in diversity, inclusion and culture work, as well as different industries are interested in looking at it and applying it in different ways.

So, you know, I think there’s a lot of runway there, and we’re excited to really just have this very specific focus, which I think is a contrarian approach. I think a lot of people want to do a lot of things because the technology is really, really big. And what we’ve said is, we want to go the other way, we want to narrow down the window and just do exactly what Steve Jobs said, all those years ago, do one thing and do it better than anyone else. And that’s trying to do here!

Nathaniel Schooler 26:39
Yeah, it’s exactly what I’m doing my podcast the results I’ve had from doing this podcast been a phenomenal because I only interview really amazing experts like you.

Billee Howard 26:54
Everybody comes on because you tell them that and you’re pretty yourself. So either.

Nathaniel Schooler 27:03
I got my sister to do an introduction for me. She’s, she’s, she’s actually a voiceover artist in Hollywood. And an actress out there and, but she can copy she can copy any voice Yeah. And so, so I said, Well, why don’t you copy? Joanna Lumley I mean she’s an American yeah she she’s she’s lived in America our whole life you know and she can copy an English accent British accent like spot on and she said to me, is it Joanna Lumley enough but the thing is, I listened to it and I was like actually it up, it’s not Joanna Lumley enough but it has a certain style to it a certain quirkiness that I like.

So I didn’t want to mess with her art, you know, and it’s, it’s so relevant to kind of what you’re what you’re saying, really, because it’s like, you pick something that you that you want created, don’t you and you and you sort of garden, the people with the words, but in essence, the words that they’re still using, they will contain some of the words that you that you tell them resonate with the audience, and they’ll be done in a certain style, right.

But those but those words that you’re that you’re helping them to find it with, with the work that you’re doing, there’s still a little bit of artistic license that they will have right within within that creative process.

Billee Howard 28:31
Well, that’s that’s exactly right. And, and, you know, it’s, it’s sometimes it’s confusing, because while we’re talking about impacting people, and emotion at a word level, that’s not to say that, you know, words are going to pop up, it is going to say, this word is greater than this word is bad, it’s going to talk about the types of ideas and themes that are going to elicit different types of emotional responses with different people.

And the ultimate goal is to understand how to hit the right up the right emotional notes with the people that you’re trying to reach. So that you instigate the type of behaviour that you’re hoping to whether it’s again, the by recommend, advocate, or ultimately, you know, when you move towards the scale of positive emotions, you’re getting in the area that everybody wants to be in, which is trust. So, you know, that’s what we’re most excited about, is helping to guide what people are doing and make it better, as well as using our decades of experience to find interesting patterns that are working or not, and testing language that they may want to consider to be additive to what they’re they’re already doing. And that’s what seems to be playing out really well. In our work right now,

Nathaniel Schooler 29:44
Super interesting. I’ve been studying it a lot recently, and, and I’m just being myself. And since that since I said, you know, you can’t be anyone else. And I think the moment you realise who your ideal people are, as an individual, when you’re communicating, I want to attract a certain type of individual, yeah, you know, an entrepreneurial person, they are the people that I want to attract.

And since I’ve been doing that, the fun that that I’ve been having is, is amazing, and I just find it quite interesting and how you take you take that and you apply that to a business, I just find it’s something that we should talk about, again, because I’ve got a lot of questions, I’ll start making a list around that, because it’s, it’s, it’s not an easy one.

Billee Howard 30:34
I mean, it’s also a very interesting time, you know, the use of language and how language itself is being used, has been transformed in recent years, dramatically, whether it’s through the introduction of a very largely text driven society where new words and emphasis and things are happening on a daily basis, you have millennials, who have dramatically altered the matter and which we communicate, you have the addition of emojis and things like that, that, you know, are their own language in itself.

And really, what we’ve decided to do is say, anytime you’re trying to talk to someone, and we were doing a project for another company right now that really wants to understand how to speak to small business owner or millennial entrepreneurs in two different parts of the world, and the United States and Canada, we’re doing an entire project to create an emotional language dictionary, if you will, so that they can share these insights with their clients and help them to create better campaigns and means of connecting with these people.

So, you know, language has never been more important to culture, you know, visuals will always be important. But as we move farther and farther away from the big TV set in the house, as the conveyor of messaging, you’re really understanding that communication takes place on a on a multitude of different levels. And the actual words that are driving those communications and the emotions that they engender, has perhaps never been more important.

Nathaniel Schooler 32:08
Yeah, it’s I’ve been studying, you know, not as long as you have, I’ve been studying, you know, brand wording and this kind of stuff for a few years. And what amazes me though, is that, you know, web designers and designers will just come up with a logo, and they’d be like: -“Well, here you go, here’s a logo.”

And it’s like, well, you’ve got to sit and step back from it, and just say:- “Well, how does that logo make someone feel, you know, is the is the is the, is the most important thing, isn’t it?” And then, and then, so, what word sit behind the logo that actually brief the designer? Because that’s the biggest the biggest misnomer in in, in, in in brand wording terms. You know…

Billee Howard 32:49
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, a lot of what we’re, we’re looking to do is ultimately help a brand or an agency design the ultimate creative brief that’s going to help bring them brand to life. I mean, a logo is very important. But you’re right, the words that lie behind the logo, the people that live behind the logo, humanity is what drives brand connection. Empathy is what drives brand connection. And you can’t do that simply through visual instruments, you need to do that through powerful and carefully selected emotional language. And that’s really where our focus lots

Nathaniel Schooler 33:26
Yeah, and that’s exactly the same with people. And how and how, like, I mean, I was interviewing a celebrity photographer based in California a couple of weeks ago, about a week ago. fantastically interesting.

And what he said was, is that he asks, he asks potential clients about 40 questions, right?

He says to them, so how do you want people to feel when they first see your picture?

And then how do you want them to feel when they see the last one, so say, for is doing a series of five pictures, for example, that is how he does it.

And it’s, and it’s so relevant to what we’re, in essence, talking of, I just find it it’s a fascinating subject, all of this stuff, you know, and, and how people just go into it with their eyes completely closed, and they have no idea and then they will be often they will be encouraged to do something that makes sense, that makes no sense. Yeah, by by either a creative who just goes with what they think that they like, and their own personal style, or a focus group that is, in essence, manipulated by the person that hired the focus group. Yeah,

Billee Howard 34:42
that’s exactly right. And that’s what we’re so that as you’re removing, um, you know, when you deal with science and math as the underlying component of what you’re doing, you you’re removing a lot of that human bias, or what our data scientists calls fingerprints, and, you know, the less fingerprints that we can have an encourage our clients to have, the more actual real information and data we’re working with, that we can really process and understand and use to our benefit.

I mean, I think that’s another exciting thing about what we’re doing is that you hear people talk about data, data, and the fact that only point 5% of data is us, you know, you can have as much data in the world and if you don’t know what to do with it, it really doesn’t matter.

And that’s also what we’re saying to our clients give us whatever textual material, you have customer reviews, employee reviews, feedback analysis, and let us look at the words that are sitting underneath your brand and explain to you how to turn that into a currency that’s, you know, going to drive your business forward. In our view, if you’re not investing in innovation today, to know your customer, never it is on a deep emotional level, you’re missing an immediate opportunity to study both competitive advantage and improved performance, whether that’s financially or from the standpoint of reputation.

Nathaniel Schooler 36:09
I mean, I was studying I was studying that very thing, right? How to come up with really great wording, right. And one of the most amazing tips that I heard was from a guy over from, from America, actually a guy called Jay Abraham, who I just, I love him, he’s a bit too intense for some people, but I quite like it, you know, you know, he’s a bit in your face isn’t a and, and, and kind of, he’s just hyperactive like me.

But what he said was, is that actually when you when you when you’re looking to potentially come up with a subject line, you can go to Amazon, and you can type in a book that’s actually related to what your topic is that you’re trying to come up within the you read the reviews for the book, and then that helps you to, in essence, come up with the words and the questions that you actually need.

And it’s basically exactly what you’re what you’re talking about doing except for you’re actually analysing it on a far deeper level to generate results for specific demographics of people, basically, to make it just micro targeted.

Billee Howard 37:17
Right, right. And we’re also not doing it on our gut instinct, we’re doing it in a way that the science irrefutably says how a word connects to a specific person or group on an emotional level. And that either is great because for me, it proves the clients that my gut instinct, thank God or mostly right. And sometimes there’s a wrong but in reality, it’s, it’s an irrefutable fact.

And you can either choose to listen to it or not, it’s no longer I think this it’s just it’s it’s fact it’s not opinion. And that’s, you know, what makes it an exciting time.

Nathaniel Schooler 37:58
I’m hugely excited, because it all you’ve got to do is just is just think about the process. You know, go go to a thesaurus, right? anyone listening to this? Who’s in marketing, business, whatever, go to a thesaurus, right? Pick it up. Pick a word. Yeah, sit there and think about how does that word feel to you, as opposed to an alternative? And you’ll find that there is a level of cold to warm, right, would you would you agree with that?

Billee Howard 38:29
Yeah, I mean, I think yes, there’s definitely a level of cold to warm. But what we’re excited about is, we’ve had the cold to warm idea for a long time, which is, in essence, sentiment analysis. And what we’ve done is start to look at from a primary emotion, literal emotion, anger, joy, sadness, love, whatever, we looked at how people are connecting to words. And that’s provided huge, huge insights. And what our team is doing now is really drilling down into the secondary emotions, but sit beneath those primary emotions.

Because the more emotional texture that you have, the greater your ability to predict what’s going to happen in a way that’s not only accurate, but personalised. And that’s really what’s exciting is understanding how to keep peeling that onion back and use the technology, the maths and the science to do that, so that you can become and help your clients become, you know, better, stronger, smarter, and faster.

Nathaniel Schooler 39:25
So much fun. I just can’t wait to actually see what this is going to look like, in the next three months, six months a year, you know, because from what you’re saying, all the experience that you personally had, and your team have from working on, like, you know, some of the most prestigious brands, the largest brands, and also within people as well, and how all of this sort of information is going to come together and actually be analysed by an essence algorithms that will learn based upon the outcomes that you guys want.

I just find it I just find it so much fun, it’s going to be great to see to see this moving forward. So, you know, as long as it’s used, though, with the right companies with the right ethics, you know, because this, you know, if you if you just take, let’s give you an example.

Let me give you an example. Yeah, which I, which I personally, I avoid gambling myself, yeah, and I and I, in fact, if someone follows me, and they’re involved with gambling, I won’t follow them back. I don’t engage with the industry it’s it’s against my personal ethics to do business in that way.

I don’t mind if you want to work with gambling, it doesn’t make any difference to me. But what I’m just raising is an issue of ethics within AI and ethics within machine learning.

And in fact, it could be used the wrong way and I know you as an individual I know you’re not an unkind person I know you have ethics right; but there are people that could in essence turn around and say well we know exactly what these types of people are like we are going to use this tool and these tools right or they will replicate something because nothing no idea is is is unique completely hundred percent and then they will manipulate people to in essence gambled away their houses and and and, you know, buy things that in essence they didn’t really want but that’s I suppose just marketing in general, isn’t it?

Billee Howard 41:33
I don’t want to make any political comments but that’s how the States was elected. So I mean, you can do to help with any type of tech

Nathaniel Schooler 41:41

Billee Howard 41:46
I mean, you could say that about about anything or anybody and you know, you, you know, it’s who is using the technology that you have to worry about, not necessarily the technology itself. So think I think, you know, it’s in safe hands with us!

Nathaniel Schooler 42:03
I think. I think so. Definitely. Well, thank you. I know you’ve got to jump off because you got to it’s nearly the hour and you got another got another meeting right

Billee Howard 42:11
In a little bit, but it was lovely. As always.

Unknown 42:16
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